Ximena Núñez del Prado, Primary School Technology, Coordinator Colegio Roosevelt
“Quiet please, we are ready to record the news!” says a student as he clicks the record button in Photo Booth. – Silence for three seconds – “Good morning, Condors! My name is Alex and my name is Sophia. Today is November …”
It is 1:15 pm and the fifth graders have just finished lunch. They are volunteering their recess time to report and record the news for Grades 1 – 5 for the following morning.
We began this initiative in August 2013, just as the school year was beginning. An idea brought to us by our Associate Principal, Kristy Csensich, was received enthusiastically by the Primary Technology Team who organizes and helps produce the daily news for the elementary school. Three months later, our students and teachers cannot imagine starting the day without streaming the Condor News at 8 AM in every classroom. All students expect to hear the cheerful jingle, to see our mascot the Condor and to learn the news from their older peers in grade 5. It helps them all to know what is happening in the elementary and it has brought us all together. During the first month, we had teachers reading the news and we, the technology coaches, worked on editing and publishing the videos into Weebly. We started with a very “homemade” recording station in the Tech Lab, which only included a bulletin board decorated with the school colors and logos. We soon realized that we could only record with teachers after school hours due to the ongoing learning-noise in the tech labs, yet our goal was to have the students read the news during the school day.
A month later, we moved our recording station to a nearby classroom, which was available and was quiet during the upper grades’ recess time. We proceeded to paint the wall our FDR-blue and again we decorated with the logos and letters. At this point, the fifth graders were ready to be in charge of most of the news process. We organized teams of four students each who had volunteered to either report the news or record and process the video. Their new responsibilities soon included: ● getting the news from the office ● preparing the poster with the reporters’ names, tomorrow’s date and tomorrow’s birthdays ● setting up the laptop to Photo Booth (we use Macs) to record and connecting the USB microphone ● managing the camera (in Photo Booth) ● reporting the news ● pointing at the poster to guide the reporters on what to report next ● putting it all away for the following day
Unfortunately, at this point, the students have limited time and are not able to produce and upload the videos, yet we plan to implement this with them soon. We began this initiative with no new or professional equipment. We record the news using an old USB microphone connected to a MacBook Pro. Students read the news from a poster and their slips of paper. We edit the video using iLife (iPhoto and iMovie). We reduce the size of the video in Miro Converter and upload it into our Weebly.com webpage:
We have plans for using an iPad teleprompter for reading the news and plans for using higher technology for lighting, recording and improving the quality of sound. We have created a form in our school’s intranet, where students and teachers can submit the news. Most of our entries, however, are jokes submitted by students, which our Associate Principal reviews and approves.
The daily newscast varies every day. We include the Joke of the Day and different videos or images to support the news. Clubs, like the Student Council, produce “Be” messages on important issues like placing backpacks in their assigned spaces, bullying or being caring friends with new students. The “Be’s” have become common knowledge with all students since they hear them every day: “Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible”. The Condors News has proved to unite the students into feeling that they ARE Colegio Roosevelt. Coincidentally, this school year’s theme is “We are Colegio Roosevelt!” in an effort to foster a sense community and unity. It has favoured our internal communication and it has allowed a means of expression for the 16 students who volunteered to participate. Go Condors! Now we all identify with our school mascot. Like every project, the Condors News needs a new creative and innovative touch every once in a while in order for our viewers to maintain the interest. We are looking forward to additional reports like “This Day in History” or other educational pieces that will air to keep the excitement and the learning alive. All students begin their day with the final message of every newscast: “We hope you have a great day, work hard and learn a lot!” Certainly, a great start to each day for students and teachers!
The Elementary Condors News is coached by Anais Buckley, Magaly Mora, Ximena Núñez del Prado and Carla Puppo.